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NEA weighs in on Convention Center art controversy

Published On: Sep 17 2013 11:34:07 AM HST

The "art cover-up" at the Hawaiian Convention Center is attracting national attention and now the rights of the artist could trump the cultural views of protesting Native Hawaiians.

HONOLULU -

The covering up of a piece of art at the Hawaii Convention Center is now attracting national attention.  Now, the rights of the artist could trump the cultural views of protesting Native Hawaiians.

The art piece that a group of Native Hawaiians finds offensive remains covered up, but it may not be that way for long.

The governor has stated his stern position to censoring art.  It may not legally be allowed as the piece by Hans Ladislaus is federally protected.

"It is actually a fact that it is," said State Foundation Executive Director Eva Laird Smith.  "Once an art comes into being, this was covered by a federal law back in 1990 and you understand this work was created in 1997."

"Art is an appeal to the universal and an appeal to our sense of humanity," said Gov. Neil Abercrombie.  "Anyone who thinks they can restrict that is operating on the basis of being a culture cop."

Representatives from the National Endowment of the Arts are urging the State Foundation to protect the artist's rights.  But, Paulette Kaleikini, a cultural descendant, said she was not asked to remove the cloth and has no plans to take it down.

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